It had to happen…

Today I had 0.2ml added to the band. I’ve plateaued over the last few weeks and I’ve noticed I’ve been able to pack more food in as well. I’m happy really because hopefully this will be enough to push me back into double figures and shed the last 13 or 14kg. I am so close to my goal now, it would be a shame not to get there. While I am quite happy at this weight now, (around 100kg), it would be better to be below 90 for my health – particularly for my bones and joints as I get older.

Watch this space. When I get back under the 100, and I am consistently losing again, there will be another post. For the next few days I am back on small meals of softer foods, to make the transition easier. I can feel the difference already – the hunger is gone. Bring it on!

 

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Worst Day Since I Started

Sitting on 98kg, I have felt like I am sitting pretty. Like nothing can stop me from hitting my eventual goal weight. But I am here to tell you, today was a BAD day. For whatever reason, today nothing I ate stayed down. NOTHING. I have regurgitated at least 9 times today. My throat is burning, I feel like I have a balloon of air in my oesophagus and I am exhausted. Even though it’s not really throwing up, you still retch, your eyes water and you feel like shit. I only tried to eat twice really, but there is the initial reaction, and then there are the subsequent reactions, which just keep coming. My body is clearly telling me not to eat, but the only way it can do that is to make me bring the food back. Even though I have not eaten a meal of any description since breakfast at 9am, I could still not, at 7:30pm, even keep down a fried egg.

I feel flat. I know on a world scale this is infinitesimal, but it’s been a demoralising day. Looks like an early night for me. Along with back pain and work pressures this has made this one of the worst days since I had the surgery. I know tomorrow will be better, but I just wish I felt better NOW. No sympathy required, just wanted to log this for posterity. Thanks for reading this far. Out.

Double Digits

So, fourteen months after starting down this road, I have arrived at a BIG milestone. For the first time in eighteen years I weigh less than 100kg. I am about 10kg away from my ultimate goal weight and I feel fantastic.

I’ve been edging towards this point for a long time. It seemed so far away at the beginning. SO far. And now I’m here, watching the scales (the only tangible measurement of my progress) as the numbers get lower.

I bought my first pair of button and zip jeans in 20 years last week. I am able to meet my step quota on my Garmin fitness tracker almost every day – without feeling exhausted. People I haven’t seen in a year do not recognise when we finally meet again, because my whole face has changed.

I only eat two small meals a day, but it’s enough. I don’t think about food in the same way anymore. I still enjoy eating, but it’s incidental rather than an objective as it once was. I look back now, not at WHAT I was eating, but HOW MUCH and I find it hard to comprehend fitting that much in.

I remember our holiday to Airlie Beach a few years ago, to celebrate my father-in-law’s 70th birthday. We were staying at a resort in Proserpine that had an awesome pool with a killer water slide. The kids were loving it and I was in the pool with them. A teenage girl took it upon herself to comment on the fact that I was in the pool. Lots of comments about being a “whale” and how she couldn’t believe I would dare to wear bathers and embarrass my children by even being here and having fun with them. I didn’t enjoy the pool so much after that. I didn’t slide down the slide again, just stayed on the sidelines and let the kids have fun with their Dad.

Over the last 20 years there have been many such people with observations to make -all of them uninvited and NONE of them helpful. Many have been students, particularly very young kids who often have no filter. I never wanted to be an advocate for overweight people. I never wanted to be someone who “educates” people; the one to tell them that their comments CAN be heard, and that they HURT.

I am including two photos in this post. One was taken on March 24 2017. The other was taken today. And I say to that girl from the resort pool. LANGUAGE WARNING….

Fuck you. Screw your warped attitude and cruelty. If I could do it over again, I would slide down the pool slide and land on your sourpuss face, in all my glory. I post these photos to show that I am in control of my body, and NOW I am in control of how I feel about it too. I am thinner, yes, but the most important thing is that I am HEALTHIER, FITTER, and more positive about life than I have been in a LONG time.

March 2017

July 2018

Enough looking back. It’s all forward now, as I stride towards reaching goal weight. I only have about 10kg to go and by the end of this year I will be there. Forever.

Update: A year down the road – what I’ve learned

This has been a very important year for me. Since April last year my daughter has turned 21, my son has turned 18, I have started writing my first YA novel, and of course I had lapband surgery.

Over the past 12 months there have been huge ups and downs. Remarkable highs and gut-wrenching lows; but through it all there’s been hope, and support, and a faith in myself I didn’t know I had.

My total weight loss so far stands, as of today’s date, at just under 35kg. At my last visit to the surgeon, where they track my progress, I discovered for the first time what my suggested goal weight is: 89 kilograms. Fourteen months ago I would have looked at that figure and laughed, absolutely certain I would never reach it. Now, it’s a little over 12kg away and I know, I KNOW, I will reach it. In fact, I might even get a little lower if I’m lucky.

So, what has this road taught me?

First and foremost it has taught me to love myself. To give myself time, to look after myself, and to be kind to myself. When that band is just not letting any food through, and you feel defeated and angry and want to curl up into a ball in a warm dark corner. You learn to speak kindly to yourself, to accept the limitations the band imposes on you and to keep going.

I have also learned that no matter how crappy a day seems, tomorrow will come and  most of the time it will be better. Your full stomach won’t be as full, the weight you can’t seem to shift will eventually move, that pair of pants will start to feel looser. Time is the friend of the lapband – in many ways. You have to take more time to eat, you have more time to enjoy the taste of your food, and because you are generally only eating 2 meals a day you have more time for other things.

Travelling down this road has also shown me how to accept compliments – how to accept that I am worthy of them, and how to celebrate my achievements. It has also taught me to be very honest with myself and others. When people comment that I “look well” and then ask the inevitable”So, how have you done it?” question. I tell them. I tell them that I had life-changing surgery just over a year ago after deciding something had to change. I tell them that it has made my life better in so many big and small ways, and that I will be forever grateful that I had the chance to make that change before it was too late. Many people are taken aback at first, but when they see how happy I am and hear how honest I am being, they are supportive, and excited for me.

On this blog I have recounted the small victories; the new clothes, being able to climb stairs I couldn’t climb before, being able to move my body around, the reduction in joint pain and back pain. Every step I take is another towards the biggest victory of all – that feeling, that knowing, I am in CONTROL and I will never be that other person again.

I feel rewarded every day. I feel grateful every day. I feel worthy every day. I feel proud every day. My little band of saline has encircled my life and I will never look back – no regrets and all JOY.

A day I could only imagine 12 months ago. 30kg down!

Ten months after I started this long road, I have reached another notable milestone. As of today, I have lost 30kg. I put some weight on over Christmas and I have spent the past 2 weeks or so trying hard to get rid of it. I think it was mostly due to an increased consumption of alcohol and non-diet soft drink, and of course reduced physical activity because I am on school holidays. Lots of Netflix and knitting on the couch (not to mention HEAPS of reading) have not made for a very active lifestyle lately!

My eating patterns have certainly changed since the band was tightened. I generally only eat 2 meals a day now. If I have breakfast, lunch is often off the menu and then I have dinner. If I have do have 3 meals, I usually can’t manage breakfast the next day. And ALL the meals are MUCH smaller now. I reckon I eat about a quarter of what I used to eat in a day – which is mind-boggling really.

Last week I started walking with a friend, which we plan to do once a week, and I have started investigating local gyms with pools with a view to join before school goes back. In the meantime I am trying to go out somewhere each day that involves me doing at least a little walking, and it has clearly made a difference. Even walking around Chadstone or Southland from one end to the other has been enough to push things along. I guess that’s another lesson learned. Even small amounts of physical activity, done daily, are better than nothing at all, and can have an impact. Now that I CAN move around I am looking forward to starting back at a gym and doing some classes (I love the Les Mills Body Pump and Body Combat classes), as well as swimming. I will also look at doing some PT for a while so that I can improve my care strength. I was thinking about going back to Pilates, but my heart’s just not in it! It was interesting to go through the exercises with the physio, but I think if I find the right place, I can find a trainer to help turn my core fitness around. This is to hopefully eradicate my sciatic issues, or at least mitigate the likelihood of those problems recurring.

For now, I will enjoy how being 30kg lighter feels, and plan how to fit more physical activity into my day when I am back at work. I am thinking about getting to work earlier and walking around the block before starting my day – I reckon that could make quite a difference – but perhaps not on the really hot days! We shall see.

Onward – and downward I go…

28kg down, and a look back

Sue28kgDown2

Today I decided to take some measurements to go along with weighing myself. I thought it would give everyone who reads this blog, and myself, a more complete idea of how things are going. I also took a photo to include with this post – because I am at a point now where I LIKE having my photo taken, and I LIKE how I look. It’s a confronting thing to admit to yourself that, even though you are known as a bit of a selfie queen among your nearest and dearest, you kinda took those shots DESPITE not liking yourself very much. It’s amazing how many things a smile, or pulling a funny face, can hide when you want it to.

Today is a landmark day. I am the lightest I have been in about 7 years., Seven years of hiding behind smiles and duck face poses. Seven years of manufactured bravado that is now at an end.

So, the measurements. I am only going to put up the first set and the most recent set. It illustrates just how far I have come quite well. I have taken measurements once a month since I started, but now I can see the differences as well as feel them, and it is the change in these measurements, in LOOKING smaller, that has resurrected my confidence. Of COURSE the health benefits of losing weight are the most important thing, but this is pretty cool too!

24/3/2017   (two weeks prior to surgery)                                                                      18/12/2017
R thigh: 89cm (35″)                                                                                                             R thigh: 73.5cm (29″)
L thigh: 89cm (35″)                                                                                                              L thigh: 73.5cm (29″)
Bust: 119.5cm (47″)                                                                                                             Bust: 104cm (41″)
Waist: 105cm (41.5″)                                                                                                           Waist: 94cm (37″)
Hips: 151cm (59.5″ – the WHOLE tape measure)                                                       Hips: 129cm (53.5″)
R calf (swollen): 54.5cm (21.5″)                                                                                      R calf: 48.5cm (19″)
L calf: 52.5cm (20.5″)                                                                                                          L calf: 45.5cm (18″)

As you can see, there have been some BIG changes in my body shape. I find it amazing that my current waist measurement is almost down to what ONE of my thighs was before I had the surgery. Mind boggling really. These measurements are the reason I will once again need to head off over the summer holidays to buy more new underwear, and some new clothes as I head into the autumn months because I only have one pair of heavier work pants that stay up now!

To those of you reading with me as I travel this road (I can’t bring myself to call it a journey – ugh), thanks for the support and the positive comments you leave along the way – they mean a lot. For those who are on the road beside me, doing the hard yards like I am (and there are still VERY hard days), hang in there! It’s worth it, I promise, Every day it gets better, and even if there are hurdles, there is nothing you can’t climb over or smash down!

Onward, and downward!

A bit of a rough patch…

There have been a few ups and downs over the past 8 weeks or so. My weight went back up a little and then I plateaued, and while I was not putting on ANY weight, I was not losing more either.

About 2 weeks ago, I had a frightening episode at work where I had severe chest pain and shortness of breath. I was on my own in the library, but managed to call the school nurse who came straight away and called an ambulance. After 11hours in the ED of a local hospital, and three blood tests, they found nothing wrong with me, but I am booked for a follow up appointment next month. Fortunately I am feeling well, and my bariatric surgeon reckons it might have been an oesophageal spasm, caused by a small piece of food lodged and unable to easily move through. This actually makes sense to me, but at the time I was very scared.

At my regular clinic appointment this week, I had only lost 0.7kg so saline was added to the band. This always means that the next week to ten days is difficult as I change my eating habits again to adjust to the smaller opening. Today, for instance has been a BAD day. All I have managed is a piece of peanut butter toast. Breakfast, for the time being, appears to be off the agenda. This is pretty shitty for me because breakfast is absolutely my favourite meal of the day. And it is, hands down, my favourite meal to go out for. So, eating is currently not a fun activity for me. Well, that’s not completely true. Eating is enjoyable, the regurgitation when things back up in the small space is definitely NOT.

The good news is that I have lost 2kg in 5 days. I am now back to the 24kg loss mark and set to pass it next week. I believe by the end of next week I will be below 110kg for the first time in about 7 years. I am looking forward to things settling done a bit over the next week or so, and finding my new eating level of comfort. I can certainly attest to not being interested in eating much, and that is one of the aims of the exercise. In the meantime, I have a slew of school and other events over the next 7-10 days – all based around food. Dinners, drinks parties, and so on. At least I won’t have to worry about not having enough to eat. A couple of mouthfuls will likely suffice in most cases. It becomes more about the company than the food, more about the celebrations than the cuisine.

But of course, no matter how much I try not thing about the food, of course it is upper most in my mind. When I enter a venue, I note where the toilets are, so that I can easily make my way there if I have a “problem”. There is no way to predict what will get stuck and when after have the band tightened. Food that I have previously been able to handle, might suddenly not work any more, and I have to be able to expel it quickly, so doing a quick reconnoiter as I walk into a new environment can mean the difference between dealing with a problem quickly, or being uncomfortable.

One the of the fantastic things I have experienced recently is meeting up with people who haven’t seen me since before the surgery. This happened at a conference this week, and several colleagues approached me saying they initially hadn’t recognised me because I looked so different. I also found that I could sit for the conference presentations much more comfortably because my bum actually fitted on the chairs properly. It amazing how many thighs like this became everyday things for me. Even travelling on the train was easier because I have ROOM to sit down, and can stand without pain on a crowded train, if I have to.

So, I will start December hoping that by Christmas I will be on the right side of 110kg, and then dip below it early in 2018. Onward. And downward.